How Playing Card Games Help You Recover From Stroke?


A Toronto neurologist was stunned to discover using technology is no better in helping the daily living, vigour, and agility. Playing simple card games, dominoes, puzzles, and board games can essentially help stroke patients with their recovery. The scientist believes it can improve your motor skills.

The games may sound like child’s play, but they are helpful tools in the hands of patients who have cognitive and physical deficits oftentimes associated with a stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA).

A stroke happens when the supply of blood to a part of the brain is interrupted either by bleeding or clotting. This can lead to slurred speech, numbness, weakness of the arms and drooping of face muscles. This is a medical emergency that definitely requires imperative attention and treatment. Some survivors need longer time to rehabilitate and regain their independence. It’s very unlucky for some that their impairment is permanent.

Psychologists and therapists target deficits by employing games to reinforce the weaknesses of their patients. Matching the game to the definite deficit is a ticket to restore lost skills.

According to Dr. Brenda Wilson, any stroke victim can use about any game. This associate professor of communication disorders and sciences at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston mentions that people have to understand what type of cognitive needs and skills are involved with whatever they are using. Dr. Wilson added that it is common for stroke survivors to sharpen the Skills Inability to pay attention.

Anyone who has any type of brain injury, which include stroke, has difficulty with attention in the early phases of recovery. Stroke victims can play games that require focus to learn how to pay more attention.

A good example is a card game called War. It is a quite simple game, and it requires a lot of focus said Dr. Ann V. Deaton. She has worked rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology at Sheltering Arms Hospital and Children’s Hospital. One of the most important skills that the game requires is attention. Others involve concentration, word-finding, motor skills and memory. In the case of aphasia, damage to the brain’s language center can affect some of these skills. Other deficits include reading, writing and comprehension.

For so many stroke survivors, it is more a concentration problem. It is truly a challenge for them to keep focused.

In addition, Dr. Deaton said that the Concentration card game is easy to play. It asks players to find matching cards. This helps a lot in developing memory. Dr. Deaton has used word-find puzzles to her stroke patients because crossword puzzles are too challenging for them. On the other hand, the Battleship game is perfect for those who have speech and word-retrieval problems. Players can practice their speech by telling each other whether the shot that the opponent did was a hit or a miss.

Furthermore, Dr. Wilson mentioned that they give workbooks with easy-to-solve puzzles that include a list of word choices. The list helps the player to answer the problem, which is common with aphasia patients.

Another great game is the Scattergories. It requires players to pick words that begin with a particular letter, which is very helpful in honing the language skills. Slapjack, on the other hand, is great for improving the motor skills. Players should employ their arms and hands to slap cards. This is such an excellent therapy for those who have weakness on one side of their bodies.

Constant attention is important to keep track with most card games. These games are useful to enhance motor skills.

Crossword puzzles are so easy to find. They exist in newspapers and some books. You can also go for Seek and Find booklets that are sold in grocery and other stores, These booklets contain vertical, horizontal, and diagonal rows of letters. A list of words to find is provided.

Furthermore, the jigsaw puzzle is another challenging play for stroke survivors. They can pick something that can give them enough challenge. For example, a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle may be too challenging and depressing; nevertheless, the patient may feel upset by an easy-to-play jigsaw puzzle. Especially when its box says it’s for children ages 3 to 5 years.

Other activities like extracting words help stroke survivors to rehabilitate. They can look for as many words as they can from a given word. For example: “generation”: gene, rat, rate, eat, ate, great, nation, near, tear, tar, art, ant, tan, ear, ton, etc.

Auditory and visual analogies are also equally challenging and beneficial. These games will ask the patients to supply a missing piece in a pattern in an image, speech or in arranging letters or words.

Additionally, Dr. Deaton believes that rehab patients who are having fun and playing often respond better. The games serve as therapy homework for the stroke patients. Letting these patients play something that they really love can help them treat their cognitive deficits.

When the fun is there, people would love to practice more because it won’t make them feel like working. In their minds, they are only playing. The card and board games may be something that what most people enjoyed in the past with the absence of advance mobile and internet technology, but it gives thousands of stroke survivors new light of hope.

Doctors are working on giving their patients with experienced physical and speech deficits simple card games to play. Those who have played cards earlier in their lives are now building on the skills that they had already developed. This makes the games real sources of enjoyment.

Once the therapists identify the level of performance of the survivor, they can modify the game to make it easier and adaptable for another person or group. The families need to realize that if a survivor can take part in one card game, he cannot necessarily participate in another card game.

Therapists, particularly speech, and occupational therapists are better in pinpointing how complicated a task if for a specific patient, based on their individual deficits. This does not limit the survivors from playing at home. Families and friends give a familiar atmosphere that persuades more frequent involvement outside of rehab sessions.

A stroke patient can have fun establishing skills by playing a simple game with a spouse or children without having to think of a treatment or therapy.

However, playing bingo or any game console like Wii also works. According to experts, the kind of task used for motor rehab may be less important, as long as it is thorough, repetitive and makes the arms and hands moving.

A research was designed to study whether virtual reality gaming is any better than more traditional games for enhancing upper limb motor skills. The team recruited 141 stroke survivors with some impaired movement. Half of them were assigned to the Wii rehab, while the other half were assigned to other recreational activities like playing cards.

Essentially, both groups showed relevant improvement in their motor skills at the end of the study. However, it is not clear how much improvement was influenced by the regular stroke care they received.

According to Dr. Gustavo Saposnik said that the modern world like technology and are inclined to think that new technology is far better that the old-fashioned approaches, but sometimes this is not the case. This study found out that simple recreational activities are more effective than technology and can be enjoyed anywhere.

Moreover, Alexis Wieroniey of the Stroke Association of United Kingdom stated that the outcomes were specifically encouraging because they believe that reasonably priced, easily available activities can help some stroke patients in their full recovery.

In reality, thousands of those who survive the stroke are left with some mobility issues, unfortunately, this leads to a disturbing loss of independence.